It’s funny, he thinks, looking in the mirror. He could pick out infinitely many things wrong with his face, his body, his skin. He runs the pad of his pointer finger over his lip now, the chapped surface providing a juxtaposing texture to the rest of his face.
It’s not to say he doesn’t take pride in his appearance; he knows he’s handsome, but does that really matter? He can’t see himself without the assistance of a reflection, anyway.
And mirrors, how peculiar. He can see the outline of his body, the way his figure twists and turns as he does the same, eyes flicking back and forth from his hands on his stomach to looking at his hands on his stomach in the mirror. He raises an eyebrow, flashes his teeth, scrunches his face into a smile.
With the back of his fist, he grazes the cool surface of the mirror. It was freshly polished. He smears his finger down the flawless glass, watching as the pristine surface is marred by his imperfection.
II. What is it like to be lonely?
He’s spent many nights thinking. Being alone and being lonely are not exclusive, certainly not to him. He finds himself surrounded by many, but still feels like all eyes, hearts, and hands belong to others. It isn’t always negative; the preciousness of solitude is not lost on him. He finds it easier to create this way. People are only distractions.
Sometimes he longs for even a warm glance.
His favorite items in his closet are his button downs. He buttons them to his throat, and never unfastens them, no matter how hot or uncomfortable. He gets a lot of odd looks in the summer.
It isn’t his first language. Some words slide from his tongue with ease, and others are jagged around the edges, not centered, fumbled. The time where he would flush from embarrassment is over. Now, he accepts the correction of his pronunciation with a smile, and asks politely if he doesn’t know a word. He is not ashamed of himself.
He isn’t easily swayed.
However, he is easily tempted.
Tonight, his temptation is of appearance.
He knows he is attractive, he just doesn’t know how to attract anyone. It gets lonely sometimes, but he reminds himself that art is worthless without pain.
God doesn’t care about him. If he did, glass wouldn’t be lodged into the skin of his knuckles right now. For a second, or a few minutes, he considers picking up the one of the larger jagged edges of shattered glass, and sliding it through the delicate skin of his wrists.
He knows he’s too much of a coward to end his life, so instead he uses his good hand to call for a cab.
He can feel himself separating from his body. Thinking of his insignificance in this giant world is exhausting. His friends, they don’t understand him. They sling an arm over his shoulder, snap the top on a beer, and tell him to ‘loosen up’. He feels so out of place around them. Each one of them has a beer in front of them, all talking about careers, or their nagging girlfriends.
They know not to give him too much beer. It loosens his tongue, makes him too cocky. The last time he had drink in his veins, he was much too happy, and people only liked him when they could sense his pain.
It’s easy to get embarrassed these days. He spends so much time alone that companionship has become foreign, unwelcome, uncomfortable. His friends care about him, of course they do, but he and they both know there’s only so much they can do to help him. Locking himself in his apartment is a definite way to keep everyone out. When he can’t find inspiration, he spends hours in front of his television, watching movie after movie, trying to dim the loneliness that is so constant.
Those few times where he does leave home, he still prefers his own company to that of others. It has become unbearably awkward for him to even look others in the eye. These days, he has no interest in romance or companionship. He knows his life will end in solitude. Accepting the truth has never been difficult for him.
He’s always been able to fall back on his dreams. He dreams of being successful and respected in his field.
He’s successful now, but lonelier than ever. He’s respected, but he’s also hated by so many.
He’d love to just close his eyes.
The future is always uncertain. Nothing, of course, can be predicted. He slowly gains confidence and a greater will to live every day, but he wonders if this is enough. Hope can’t change his fate, but life has a strange way of evening itself out.